Yesterday more than 200 organizations, cultural influencers, elected officials and Americans across the country participated in the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day by wearing orange.
More than 55,000 people pledged their support for preventing gun violence by using the hashtag #WearingOrange on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The #WearingOrange hashtag was used so many times that it trended worldwide on Twitter.
The Wear Orange campaign was inspired by a group of Chicago teens that asked classmates to commemorate the life of their friend, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed one week after marching in President Obama’s second inaugural parade – by wearing orange, a color that hunters use to protect themselves in the woods. What started in their high school has grown into a national movement, elevating orange as a symbol for the value of human life – and a way to visibly honor the 88 American lives cut short by gun violence every day, plus the countless survivors forever altered by shootings each year.
Highlights of National Gun Violence Awareness Day Include:
• #WearingOrange was used in more than 87,000 tweets with a total reach of 215 million. On Instagram, more than 2,000 posts included #WearingOrange from 1,369 contributors. These posts generated 5,603 comments, 234,000 likes and 15,000,000 impressions. On Facebook, #WearingOrange reached over 6 million users.
• President Barack Obama, Julianne Moore, Russell Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Michael Stipe, Katie Couric, Aasif Mandvi, Billy Ray Cyrus, Michael J. Fox, Jason Bateman, Padma Lakshmi, Rachel Dratch, Reverend Al Sharpton, Andrew Bird, Kristen Schaal, Alyssa Milano, TV on the Radio, Piper Kerman and the writers of “Orange is the New Black”, and many more tweeted #WearingOrange.
• Capitol Hill was painted orange as Senators and Representatives from across the country showed off their orange sweaters, jackets, ties, ribbons, and socks to call for Congress to take action to reduce gun violence. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Gun Violence Chairman Mike Thompson, and the House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee held a hearing in conjunction with National Gun Violence Awareness Day to highlight the need for legislative action to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) gave a moving speech on the Senate floor honoring Hadiya Pendleton and recognizing the first ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day. And countless members of both the House and Senate tweeted #WearingOrange to show off their photos and add their voices in support of reducing gun violence.
• Motown Records’ staff and roster supported the campaign, including Grammy- nominated BJ the Chicago Kid, Kevin Ross, James Davis and Rich White Ladies, among many others.
• The New York Mets became the first pro sports franchise to join the campaign and released a photo of the entire team wearing orange in support of efforts to reduce gun violence.
• Four national women’s magazines — Cosmopolitan, More, Essence and Nylon Magazine — voiced strong support for #WearingOrange. Seventeen featured a profile of one of the teens that started the Wear Orange campaign — Project Orange Tree president Nza-Ari Khepra.
• More than 60 organizations joined the coalition including American Academy of Pediatrics, Amnesty International, Americans for Responsible Solutions, The Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, Hadiya’s Promise, Media Matters for America, Moms Demand Action, Moveon.org Civic Action, Project Orange Tree, Sandy Hook Promise.
• 68 mayors from 21 states representing 24,118,777 people joined the campaign (full list below). Many of them issued proclamations declaring June 2nd Gun Violence Awareness Day in their city moving forward. Participants included Mayors Emanuel (Chicago), De Blasio (New York), Garcetti (Los Angeles) Nutter (Philadelphia), Lee (San Francisco), Walsh (Boston), Hales (Portland, OR), Wharton Jr. (Memphis), Slay (St. Louis), Stanton (Phoenix) Schneider (Santa Barbara), Murray (Seattle), Peduto (Pittsburgh), Barrett (Milwaukee) and Coleman (Columbus, OH).
• HBO debuted the trailer for its hard-hitting new documentary, Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014, from Emmy-Award winning filmmakers Shari Cookson and Nick Doob, which premieres on HBO June 22nd at 9:00pm EDT/PDT. Told entirely through social media postings, news accounts and other found media, the new documentary offers an unvarnished portrait of the human toll from gun violence in America.
• The famed Chicago Theater marquee, buildings in downtown Mobile, Alabama, and the Rhode Island State House in Providence Rhode Island also participated in the day by going orange.
• In Chicago, the Wear Orange campaign hosted a Wear Orange Party for Peace, a community event to honor the lives of those affected by gun violence and elevate gun violence prevention efforts in Chicago and nationwide. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined more than 300 supporters including Hadiya Pendleton’s parents Nate and Cleopatra Pendleton, Project Orange Tree founding member Nza-Ari Khepra, survivors and friends of Hadiya’s, and Motown artist James Davis performed.
The “Wear Orange” campaign and National Gun Violence Awareness Day was a collaboration between organizations, cultural influencers, political figures, activists, survivors and everyday Americans who believe that we can do more to save American lives from gun violence.
Further, supporters are encouraged to visit wearorange.org to learn about how to get more involved in gun violence prevention through one of the many Wear Orange partner organizations.